Shadow Boxing: A Chicana’s Journey from Vigilante Violence to Transformative Justice

by Lena Palacios

Dedication: To the victims and survivors of both sexual and state violence, to the many shadowboxers whom I know and love: to those who intimately understand that boxing is war but so is life.

[Shadow Boxing: A Chicana’s Journey from Vigilante Violence to Transformative Justice (14:22 minutes)]

Synopsis: In this video mash-up dedicated to female shadow boxers, I chart my emotional and political journey from wanting revenge against an individual—starting when I was a little girl—to organizing collectively against interlocking forms of interpersonal, structural and institutional violence—starting as a young woman recently released from juvenile lock-up in the mid- 1990s in “Golden Gulag” California. I speak from multiple intersections as a queer Chicana from an urban, working-class background who is a survivor of sexual violence, a feminist anti-violence activist, and a penal abolitionist.

Within our current carceral landscape, transformative justice feminist praxis driven by Indigenous and race-radical girls and women of color is an essential epistemic and organizing tool to achieve such freedom from violence. For those of us who have been victimized by both intimate partner violence and state violence, there is no other choice for us but to continue building community accountability circles and anti-violence movements that guarantee our collective survival. The stakes could not get much higher.


About the filemaker:Lena Palacios received a SAW Video JumpStart grant aimed at artists producing their first videos in 2012. Their first video project has been screened at the SAW Gallery (Ottawa, May 2013) for both the “Breaking the Silence—Artists for Justice” a film screening organized by the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project as well as for the annual film festival showcasing the works created through the JumpStart Mentorship Program.

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 9.38.03 AM


Leave a Reply